American cartoonist Cathy Guisewite once said, “Food, love, career, and mothers, the four major guilt groups.“
Amen to that. A month ago I went on my first mommy-only trip to Calgary for a professional development workshop with the Travel Media Association of Canada Alberta/Northwest Territories chapter. It was on a Friday afternoon and part of the day Saturday. I left on Friday at 8:00 a.m. and returned to Edmonton on Saturday by 6:30 p.m.
After the first afternoon of the workshop, I stole away and went to Calgary’s brand spanking new Nordstrom before we all convened for dinner. I power shopped for an hour and a half and encountered likely the comfiest, most stylish change room wait area I’ve ever been in and the best customer service. This will entail it’s own blog post…very near future folks. BUT I digress.
The entire two weeks before I signed up for the travel writing/marketing workshop, I agonized about going to Calgary to stay at a swish hotel (big ups Hotel Arts) and cram my brain full of travel journalism know-how. Put simply: I FELT SO BLOODY GUILTY. I was leaving my then-15 month old with my highly capable partner (and my very baby-friendly in-laws nearby). I was gone for approximately 36 hours. I was building my career. But all this didn’t matter because in my head I was leaving my family and baby for something that wasn’t part of the regular program, something that was solely for me and no one else.
I was so neverous/anxious/stressed before I left for the travel writing workshop. But then something magic happened as soon as I steered my trusty Jetta south. I could breath a little deeper, I was excited. I was going on an adventure with no one to take care of buy myself – so fun. Like I used to, as in pre-motherhood. It was the best 36 hours I had in a long time – I grabbed coffee with a new friend, went to a kick ass workshop where I learned a bunch (thanks TMAC AB-NWT), came back with some great contacts and was totally inspired (see: here and here). I also made new friends, and caught up with two old university friends. I packed a lot into my little solo journey and loved every second of it.
So my advice to you moms of wee ones: if you have a similar opportunity, GO. Don’t feel guilty. It’s not worth it for a second. Avoid the guilt of leaving your partner/pets/kids/work. Your family will survive without you. The work can wait. Your partner will likely love the new, invigorated you all the more. Do not give that little guilt voice space in your head or else your time away to do a little brain/body/soul building is for naught. Everyone will be just fine, including you.
And if you can squeeze a power shop in a Nordstrom while you’re at it – all the better.
Hope your Monday is guilt-free.